In football, there are some players who manage to stay at the top until the very end. But for many others, injuries, a lack of form or the pull of a return to their native land can see them leave the spotlight of top-level European football much earlier.
Football careers can take a variety of paths and one to another can push players to lose their concentration.
There are some players who made their names in Europe. But despite their careers currently went backward, are still playing professionally elsewhere in the world.
For instance, former Manchester United and Aston Villa midfielder Eric Djemba Djemba currently plays in the French Liga Inter-Gr.2.
Now let’s take a look at top 5 players you probably didn’t know are still playing professional football in 2018.
5. Diego Forlan – Striker (Kitchee)
Things didn’t quite work out for Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan at Manchester United. But he nevertheless went on to enjoy a successful career in Spain at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
He also finished the joint top scorer at the 2010 World Cup and win the Copa America with Uruguay in 2011.
Since leaving European football in 2012, Forlan has embarked on a bit of a globetrotting tour, taking in Brazil, Japan, India and a return to his native Uruguay with Penarol.
Since he left Europe in 2012, the 38-year-old played for different clubs from Asia before he took a year out in 2017. But he has now agreed to join reigning Hong Kong champions Kitchee SC.
4. Roque Santa Cruz – Striker (Olimpia Asunción)
Roque Santa Cruz has been an outstanding striker in Europe during his time at Bayern Munich, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Real Betis and Malaga.
The former Paraguay international started his football career at Paraguayan side Olimpia Asunción. And now the 36-year-old surprisingly went back in Paraguay at his boyhood club.
Santa Cruz rejoined Olimpia in June 2016, while in December, his contract was extended for the calendar year of 2018.
3. Eric Djemba-Djemba – Midfielder (FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues)
Eric Djemba-Djemba initially made his name at French side Nantes, where he grew up before departing for Manchester United.
His impressive performances as a feisty for the French club earned him a dream move to United for £3.5m in the summer of 2003. The Cameroonian midfielder signed by Alex Ferguson as a possible eventual successor to the 31-year-old Roy Keane.
Now at the age of 36, he is still playing on in French Liga Inter-Gr.2, now at FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues.
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